Navigating tutorials with your dissertation supervisor
(Last updated: 3 March 2020)
Both undergraduate dissertations and masters dissertations are strictly regulated, in most cases meaning that a student is only allowed a limited number of hours with their dissertation supervisor. This means that it is absolutely essential to make the very most of the time you have with them as their help will be invaluable in writing a first class dissertation.
Read our top tips to maximise the efficiency and value of your dissertation tutorial time.
It is vital to prepare fully for your dissertation tutorials. Your time will be wasted if you have to spend part of it catching up and looking at materials you could have studied in advance. This careful preparation and research is an important part of dissertation writing.
Prepare a list of topics or issues you need to cover for each tutorial and make sure you get through them.
Remember that the number of times your supervisor looks over your drafts during the dissertation writing period may also be limited, so prepare ideas and sections to discuss during tutorials to get the maximum possible amount of input from your dissertation supervisor on your work itself.
The limited number of dissertation supervisions you have will fly by much quicker than you anticipate. To avoid the common pitfall of finding you have run out of allocated hours but still have a huge section of dissertation writing to tackle, or an important area still to discuss, find out at the beginning how many hours you are allowed.
Then draw up a plan in discussion with your supervisor, assigning each major topic or area a tutorial or part of a tutorial, making sure you will be able to fit everything in to the time allowed. The structure of this plan should echo your dissertation structure.
Remember to try and leave some time at the end for a final read-through with your supervisor once you have finished your dissertation writing, for correction of minor errors and referencing, bibliography etc.
Your dissertation supervisor is likely to be an expert on the topic you are writing your dissertation on. Make sure you take copious notes throughout supervisions to help you remember all the valuable advice and information they will give you.
If they mention a text or theorist you should look at then make sure you write it down, don’t rely on memory alone. These supervision hours and their knowledge are extremely precious and you will kick yourself later if you can only remember part of what was discussed.